Taught course

Geotechnical Engineering and Management

University of Birmingham · Department of Civil Engineering

Entry requirements

The basic requirement is a good Honours degree in an appropriate discipline (for example, Engineering, Sciences, Geography or Mathematics), and evidence of adequate knowledge of the English language. However, the entrance qualifications vary, as practical experience may be an important consideration.

Months of entry


Course content

This programme is designed to support high-level training and enhance both the technical and managerial skills of graduates and experienced personnel who work in or aspire to a career in the construction or related industries.
There is a wide range of opportunity in the Civil Engineering profession for geotechnical specialists, particularly those who combine geotechnical knowledge with essential managerial skills aspects associated with the Construction Industry.
Modern structures, such as buildings, embankments and dams, must satisfy exacting stability and deformation criteria, and they may have to be sited on weak or compressible ground. It is the responsibility of the geotechnical engineer to plan and direct the necessary ground investigations and laboratory testing, interpret the results, and propose methods of design and construction to overcome difficulties caused by inadequate ground.
The long-term performance of the structure must be predicted, and instruments may have to be installed to check the prediction. This needs a sound knowledge of engineering geology, soil and rock mechanics, current civil engineering design, and of construction management and practice.
This MSc programme is designed to support high level training and enhance both the technical and managerial skills of recent graduates or experienced personnel who work in, or aspire to a career in, the construction or related industries. This programme is aimed at Civil Engineers and Geologists who wish to widen their professional scope or to specialise in geotechnical engineering with the addition of modern managerial skills. To summarise the detailed information above, the teaching concentrates on four essential aspects of the subject, to provide four essential skill sets:
  • Physical, chemical and mechanical properties of soils and rocks; ground investigation; field and laboratory testing
  • Engineering geology
  • Analysis, design and construction of foundations, retaining walls, embankments and slopes including methods of ground reinforcement and improvement.
  • Managerial skills for the construction industry, including law, project and financial management

The programme consists of taught modules (lectures, seminars, laboratory classes, design exercises and workshops), site visits and a research project. External lectures are provided by experts and leaders from industry to supplement the key academic parts of the programme.

The syllabus includes:

  • Engineering geology
  • Soil mechanics
  • Laboratory testing
  • Foundation engineering
  • Earthworks
  • Slope stability
  • Retaining structures
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Ground improvement
  • Environmental geotechnics and waste management
  • Underground construction
  • Financial and risk management
  • Law, contract procedures, and investment appraisal
  • Information of programme structure and content

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days. Register to attend at: www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgopendays

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: www.pg.bham.ac.uk

Information for international students

International students can find further details of scholarships at www.international.bham.ac.uk/scholarships.htm A good standard of English is required, and the University accepts TOEFL with a minimum overall score of 237/580, TWE 4, and IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.

Fees and funding

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Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24-36 months


part time
16-24 months
full time
8 months


part time
8 months
full time
4 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiry Service
0121 414 5005